Extra-inning victory sends OU to WCWS
The Oklahoma Sooner women’s softball team set the all-time record for consecutive wins Saturday in Norman.
The Sooners captured their 48thstraight win in thrilling fashion, defeating 16th-seeded Clemson 8-7 in 9 innings in Game 2 of the Best-of-3 Norman Super Regionals in their final game at historic Marita Hynes Field.
The extra-inning victory sends the 2-time defending national champion Sooners to the 2023 NCAA Women’s College World Series at USA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma’s first obstacle in its bid for a third-straight national championship will be the sixth-ranked Stanford Cardinal, who swept their Bestof- 3 series with seventh-ranked Duke in Durham, North Carolina.
The Sooners’ first-round battle with Stanford will take place Thursday at 1:30 p.m. with the winner advancing to Saturday’s winner’s bracket game at 2 p.m., while the loser will play an elimination game Friday at 6 p.m.
The other two teams in Bracket 1 of the WCWS are fourth-ranked Tennessee and 11th-ranked Alabama.
The four teams in Bracket 2 of the WCWS will be third-ranked Florida State, ninth-ranked Oklahoma State, fifth-ranked Washington, and 14thranked Utah.
On Saturday, Clemson appeared on its way to becoming the first team to defeat the top-ranked Sooners in 2023 since Baylor handed Oklahoma its first loss of the season all the way back on February 19 at the Getterman Classic in Waco, Texas. The Tigers led 7-4 in the top of the seventh and were one strike away from ending the Sooners’ win streak at 47 games.
Oklahoma catcher Kinzie Hansen kept the Sooners’ streak alive by blasting an 0-2 delivery from Clemson ace Valerie Cagle over the left-field wall for a game-tying 3-run home run.
The score remained deadlocked at 7-7 until the top of the ninth when Tiare Jennings put the Sooners on top 8-7 with a leadoff solo home run to straightaway center field.
The Oklahoma defense kept the Tigers off the scoreboard in the bottom of the ninth with the final hitter flying out to centerfielder Jayda Coleman to punch the Sooners’ ticket to the 2023 NCAA Women’s College World Series.
The Sooners got the scoring started with back-to-back solo home runs from Coleman and Jennings to begin the contest.
Oklahoma doubled its lead to 4-0 with two runs in the top of the fourth, beginning with a 1-out solo home run by Alyssa Brito. Quincee Lilo, who entered as a pinch runner, came across to make it a 4-run Sooner lead on an RBI groundout by Sophia Nugent, who pinch hit for Rylie Boone.
Clemson made it a 4-3 contest with two outs in the bottom of the fourth on a 3-run home run by Maddie Moore, then plated four runs in the home half of the fifth to go ahead by three, 7-4. The Tigers began their 4-run fifth with a 2-run home run by leadoff hitter McKenzie Clark. The other two Clemson runs in the fifth came on a bases-loaded RBI walk to Alia Logoleo and an RBI fielder’s choice by Moore.
The score remained at 7-4 until Hansen’s game-tying 3-run home run in the top of the seventh with Jennings’ second home run of the game helping send the Sooners to their 48thstraight win and seventh-consecutive trip to the WCWS.
Jordy Bahl pitched three scoreless innings of relief to earn her 18th win of the season.